Realistic Gardening

Bonnie Nowicki, Master Gardener

The lazy days of summer are fast approaching. As we continue to shelter in place from the virus, many of us are planning in our minds, or even on paper, how we will enhance our yards with new plantings or exciting yard art once the local nurseries open again.

During these months of confinement, we’ve been able to dream big and do unlimited online gardening research. Thinking back to our many past trips to purchase specialty plants, soils and fertilizers, and unique tools etc., we may acknowledge that seldom were these budget projects. So perhaps we should seriously consider being more realistic with our present landscape dreams and spending.

Start now to formulate a simple plan that takes into account the actual size of your yard or garden, soil requirements, and the time you really want to spend doing the work. If you only have room for five new plants, don’t be tempted to buy eight. Don’t grow vegetables you or your family won’t eat or don’t want to water and maintain. Make a detailed list of needs and/or wants, and stick to it.

Take a neighborhood walk. Pay attention to what grows best in our area. Using physical distancing, of course, ask your neighbors what their favorite landscape plant is. Clean and inventory your garden tools. You don’t need super fancy implements. A sturdy hand trowel, good shovel, a hand fork, plus hand clippers and pruners should be enough. Adding a large garden fork would be useful, but don’t spend unnecessarily. Again, how much time do you really spend working in your yard? We all have good intentions; be realistic.

How sad to watch recently purchased plants languish and wither because we bought too many; or several beautiful pots stuck in a garage corner with no place to show them off. Don’t take up valuable space with bags and bags of soil or fertilizer, because you may need them next year. Restrain yourself and buy for immediate use. Good luck and happy gardening!